First of all, this are going to get slightly more vague from this point on. Because I got so far behind with my travel diary that I just gave up altogether and figured I'd take bullet points on our trip notes and then write my travel diary when I got home. Four and a half years later, I still haven't bothered. So I'm going to be running on bullet points and my memory from here...
We left Palenque and caught a bus to San Cristobal de las Casas, which took approximately FOREVER. We finally arrived in San Cristobal at around 6pm, and had a quick look around town:
Then it was off to dinner at an all-you-can-eat steakhouse with a bullfighting theme. The boys were all "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, STEAK!!" and proceeded to demolish approximately six or seven steaks each. I, on the other hand, had two steaks and, you know, VEGETABLES. After dinner, we had a DELIGHTFUL introduction to San Cristobal in the form of going to see a documentary about the Zapatista movement, which basically turned out to be a crapton of footage of dead bodies and people being executed... O.o
To calm(??) us all down afterwards, Arizona Boy took us to a bar, where we were presented with these:
Flaming tequila shots. I passed on mine, and ordered a strawberry daiquiri instead. Which, weirdly, was made with coconut milk. Oh, Mexico. Don't ever change.
The following day, we headed out for a boat tour of Sumidero Canyon. It's basically Mexico's version of the Grand Canyon, and it's pretty spectacular because it's in the middle of a rainforest:
That afternoon, Sara and I visited the Amber Museum, which was...not particularly fascinating, and then climbed about a millionty steps to the San Cristobal Church, which has a nice view over the city.
Aaaaaand while we were there, we got swindled by small children. They claimed to be doing a school project, and that they'd been told to collect the names and countries of origin for passing tourists. Except the form they asked you to fill in included a box for "donation". I gave the kid five pesos on the basis that he knew the capital of Australia was Canberra.
The next day, we had another exciting excursion. This time, it was out to some nearby villages that have been excommunicated by the Pope.
Why, you ask? They took Catholicism and added in a bunch of elements from their traditional Mayan religious practices. Various saints are worshipped in preference to God or Jesus. The church has no pews, just pine branches all over the floor. And people go to church with the following: candles of varying colours, 2L bottles of Coke/Pepsi, flowers, eggs, and live chickens.
WHY do they go to church with these things? Well. The Coke/Pepsi makes you burp, and burping releases evil spirits (the richest guys in town? The Coke and Pepsi sales reps). The candles help you to specify what you're praying for. And the flowers/eggs/chickens are for drawing evil spirits out of you and then sacrificing. You ain't been to church until you've been to a church where chickens get their necks snapped, yo. Sometimes, they even do exorcisms in the church!
But my all time favourite thing I learnt while we were there? When the women of this town want a husband, they pray to a statue of St Anthony. If St Anthony fails to deliver a husband within a decent time frame, they take the statue, stand it on its head, and put it in the fridge as punishment. Genius!
Next up, we leave San Cristobal de las Casas for Panajachel, and it takes approximately a millionty buses and some permanent damage to my knees to get us there.